The land of opportunity became the land of greed during eight years of a Republican administration in which America earned the world’s scorn by ignoring its reality. A US Intelligence Report released in late November confirmed what everyone but America knew. US dominance in the world was expected to keep shrinking towards 2025 while that of others such as China, India and Brazil would grow.
The landmark 2008 US election year witnessed a global economic crisis around the election, sparked by a collapse of America’s financial institutions that could not be stemmed. Under public pressure with a $ 700 billion “bailout” package funded by taxpayers, executives at American firms such as Goldman Sachs were forced to give up bonuses and accept base pay hovering around a half million dollars, according to the New York Post. The sacrifice is less than martyr-level in light of the fact that in 2007, the total compensation packages of the top four executives of that firm ranged near $ 60 million to $ 70 million.
In that same 2007 year, according to a US Agricultural Department report released in mid-November, close to 700,000 children went hungry in America while close to one in eight Americans struggled to feed themselves. That figure represented an increase of more than 50 per cent over the previous year for children. Overall, more than 36 million adults and children struggled with hunger that year, or 12.2 per cent of the population. Nearly a fifth of those went hungry at some point in the year, a figure 40 percent higher than in 2000 when the Republican administration took office.
Those figures were expected to be higher in the decisive 2008 election year, when a strident conservative slate was resoundingly defeated in favor of an inclusive Democratic ticket. The upshot of the election was nothing less than elating to both Americans and the world at large, as judged by media buzz over a compassionate, world-savvy new blood supply coming into the White House and the United States government.
That surge in overall support for the American electoral decision suggests that the projected decline in American global dominance is by no means an indication of failure or defeat. It is not the decline of a great empire due to overreach or decadence, as was the case with historical precedents such as the Egyptian, the Greek, the Holy Roman, the British and many more in between.
A September e-zine articles.com item by Andrew Patterson about the world’s ten largest economies, based on the CIA World Factbook and World Bank figures, indicates that the American Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over $ 13 trillion is way ahead of China, in second place with over $ 3 trillion. By that measure, the US economy accounts for at least one quarter of the total GDP of the world’s 200 countries. It is a level of wealth at which America can afford to relax, regardless of its troubles.
The new administration with the 2008 election has yet to change America’s course, but already America is readjusting to being the land of opportunity again for the world. In the time remaining before the new order takes effect, America has time to integrate its past and future.
America started as a British colony. Its character today is based on its history of throwing off an imperialist yoke and taking the steps that ultimately led the way to global equality for all people.
In the transition period from greedy unregulated Republican era to a rational society well able to afford the ultimate luxury of compassion and generosity, America can make peace with its destiny of affording opportunity to all. That coming to terms with a realization of blessedness can lead to unprecedented leadership for the world. America can set the pace for a global policy that no person needs to go hungry as grander goals are pursued.